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Allergy myths debunked

Here’s a very quickfire summary of an excellent article by Sally Bloomfield of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, published in The Conversation.

handwashing

  • Fewer childhood infections does not lead to more allergies
  • Our modern “obsession” with cleanliness is not to blame for more people having allergies
  • Being less hygienic will not reverse the allergy trend
  • Synthetic chemicals are not to blame for allergies

On that latter issue about “synthetic” chemicals Bloomfield makes a very important point that the public should know:

Many people believe that ‘man-made’ chemicals are more likely to cause allergic reactions, leading to many synthetic substances in products being replaced by ‘atural alternatives’. However, the most common allergic reactions are to naturally occurring allergens, in foods such as eggs, milk and nuts, in common garden plants such as primroses and chrysanthemums, and things in the environment such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Some natural replacements for synthetic substances could actually increase the risk of allergic reactions.

Creative Commons photo by peapodlabs

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